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Erasmus Orders 250 Genomes from Complete Genomics to Study Cancer, Congenital Malformations

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This story was originally published May 19.

Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands has placed an order with Complete Genomics for 250 whole-genome sequences from patients with leukemia, other cancers, and congenital malformations such as craniosynostosis.

The order, which expands the medical center's collaboration with the company, is part of an Erasmus-led research study seeking to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases whose genetic origins have been difficult to discern.

Eventually, sequencing will be used in clinical trials and to guide treatment, Peter J. van der Spek, head of bioinformatics at Erasmus Medical Center, said in a statement. Whole-genome sequencing of patients will "change the way patient stratification is conducted for targeted treatments in the very near future in the Netherlands," he said.

Using sequencing to understand the genetics of disease will help Erasmus in "developing [both] better diagnostic screens that form the basis for genetic testing in monogenetic diseases, and targeted treatment development for diseases such as cancer," Complete Genomics CEO Clifford Reid said in the statement.

The deal, which will be completed over the next year, also adds to Complete Genomics' backlog of orders, which currently stands at more than 2,100 (IS 5/10/2011).

Erasmus is working with other groups to obtain patient samples, including Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that manages the blood supply in the Netherlands, and various teams at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam.

Working with Erasmus, Complete Genomics will use the medical center's bioinformatics-training center for customers. The partners are also collaborating on other undisclosed diseases.